Saturday, August 28, 2010

ArmadilloCon 2010: writers' workshop, and sandwiches that cost their weight in gold

Writers' workshop went as usual, which is to say, not bad. I workshopped the same story as in the ApolloCon workshop. I didn't have time to finish a new one, because the deadlines for the two workshops were so close. I had only 3 days to fix my story before submitting it to the ArmadilloCon workshop. The comments I got on my story at ArmadilloCon were different than the ones I got at ApolloCon. So my fixes might have worked, at least the ones that concerned point of view and character motivation. But some of the comments, addressing deep, structural flaws of the story, remained.

ArmadilloCon is in a different hotel this time than before. As before, the only two options for writers' workshop lunch were (1) buy food catered by the hotel, or (2) bring your own. Hotel-provided lunch cost... wait for it... $34.34. That's for a sandwich, cookie, and coke. No, the sandwich was not made with caviar. Naturally, many people, including me, opted to bring their own lunches.

Our previous hotel allowed people who brought sack lunches to eat in the workshop room with the rest of the group. The new hotel does not allow it. People who brought their food were told to leave the hotel, and walk far, far away from the hotel grounds to consume the food.

But here's the dilemma. The whole point of group lunch was that students get to hang out with the teachers (professional writers and editors who critique students' work), and talk about writing. This wouldn't work if those students who brought food went outside, and those with catered lunches staid inside. So, in each critique group (there were nine of them, 5-6 students each), if even one person brought sack lunch, the whole group had to go outside. Ergo, after spending $34 you still had to go out into 100-degree Texas heat and eat stuff you could buy for $5 from a sandwich shop nearby.

Fortunately, there was another option, to go into somebody's hotel room to eat. The hotel allows you to eat your own food in hotel rooms, just not in public spaces. My group went into one of our students' hotel room (she was from Houston, thus she was staying in the hotel). At least we didn't have to roast alive while eating.

But other than that, the workshop was pretty good. A big thank you goes out to its organizer, Stina Leich. She made the best out of ridiculous circumstances the hotel put us in.

Pictures from Armadillocon 2010 and writers' workshop are in my photo gallery.

1 comment:

Marshall Ryan Maresca said...

Actually, the temperature outside was quite pleasant on Friday. Our group went outside to eat, and stayed outside to do our critiques.